Stats Pack: St Helens
14 Brad Dwyer. SL.Rd24.St.Helens v Rhinos. Fri10thSept2021. © MATTHEW MERRICK PHOTOGRAPHY
Old Trafford is only eighty minutes away for either Leeds Rhinos or St Helens as the two sides clash in tonight’s Betfred Super League Play Off semi final at the Totally Wicked Stadium, kick off 7:45pm. Don’t forget that tickets and travel are still available and can be purchased here.
Before the teams run out, here are some of the key stats, figures and facts about both Richard Agar and Kristian Woolf’s sides.
Team Head to Head
For the first time since 2015, Leeds and St Helens meet in the Betfred Super League Play Offs with a place at Old Trafford at stake.
Tonight’s game will be the ninth play off meeting between the clubs since the post season play offs were introduced in 1998. Both sides have four wins apiece so far; Leeds walked out comfortable winners against Saints during their first play off encounter during the 1998 campaign; Francis Cummins scoring a hat trick in a 44-16 result. They won again at Knowsley Road in 2005 and Emerald Headingley in 2013 and 2015 while Saints claimed wins in 1999, 2001, 2007 and 2008 on home soil, but only went on to lift the Grand Final trophy once in 1999.
In 2021, although the Rhinos have played three more games than St Helens, the teams are relatively close in their numbers. As expected with Woolf’s side, Saints score plenty of points and concede very few. Thanks to the work of Lachlan Coote, who departs at the end of the season for Hull KR, Jack Welsby and Tommy Makinson, the ‘red v’ have averaged 26.8 points per game (third in the league) and conceded 10.7 points per game (first in the league). They also dominate possession and territory (a metric that Leeds also do very well in), plus in attack, they top the league in tackle breaks and penalties awarded too.
The Rhinos are fifth across both average points scored and average points conceded and sit behind St Helens with a 4.0 average points difference. Like St Helens too, the Rhinos score tries and conceded few, plus Rhyse Martin’s successful goal kicking ranks Leeds behind only Warrington, Leigh, Wakefield and Catalans in goal kicking success. Interestingly, although Richard Agar’s side are pipped by St Helens in total run metres this season, they are in the top two teams who make the most metres per set (41.9 on average). In post contact metres too, Leeds top the pile due to Luke and Tom Briscoe, Rhyse Martin and Ash Handley.
St Helens’ Top Performers
13 Tries (6th in SL)
72 Goals (4th in SL)
2663 Metres (7th in SL)
16 Clean Breaks (2nd in SL)
22 Errors (15th in SL)
Key Head to Head
Tonight will be a battle of the forward packs and two players that will be at the centre of the action will be Zane Tetevano and Morgan Knowles.
Wales and England international Knowles has developed into one of the best homegrown props in the league. Following in the footsteps of Luke Thompson, who left Saints in 2019 to sign for NRL side Canterbury Bulldogs, Alex Walsmley, Matty Lees and more, Knowles has worked his way to become a hard hitting, try scoring loose forward, which he showed against Leeds last time out at the Totally Wicked Stadium. This season, he has 13 appearances out of 21 and was one of the players rested against Salford in the final round of the regular season as Woolf tries to guide the club back to the Grand Final for a third consecutive season. Knowles has two rings already, having played in the last two finals, and will want to add the Grand Final and Challenge Cup double to his resume.
Tetevano will be a player Leeds will look at to lead the team to Old Trafford for the first time in four years. For Tetevano, his last finals campaign came in 2020 when he was a part of Penrith Panthers’ Premiership winning squad, plus he also appeared in Sydney Roosters’ 2019 Grand Final squad too.
This season, he has been Leeds’ most efficient tackler with a 91.5% success rate and last time out against Wigan, the loose forward couldn’t be contained as he made the most metres out of Leeds’ starting forwards (only John Bateman and Cam Smith made more in the whole game out of both forward packs) and he made three tackle breaks, which is his most since Leeds’ loss to Castleford at the start of August.
One to Watch: St Helens
A two time Super League champion and former NRL Grand Final winner, full back Lachlan Coote knows what it takes to win on the biggest stage.
After winning the NRL Grand Final with North Queensland Cowboys in 2015, the full back fell out of favour in 2017 and made the switch to join Kristian Woolf at St Helens for 2018. Coote showed he still had the ability to win and has built a strong spine with influential players such as James Roby, Jonny Lomax, Theo Fages, Jack Welsby and recently Lewis Dodd, that has seen the full back record the highest number of try assists this season (sixth overall in Super League).
Along with Lomax, Coote has one of the highest tallies of line break assists in the league (ninth overall), showing just how eager the full back is at support his team mates in attack. As chief goal kicker but also a try scorer, he has topped Saints’ scoring charts for a third consecutive season; this season in particular he has scored seven tries and kicked 72 goals during the regular season. His in-play kicking game has aided Saints to getting on the front foot too as he also has the most metres from kicks by a player in the St Helens camp.
One to Watch: Leeds Rhinos
A man of the match performance was well deserved for Ash Handley last week as the winger put in another excellent performance against Wigan in the first round of the play offs.
As Leeds’ sole try scorer, Handley did more than just win the match for Agar’s side. Going forward, he made a total of 268 metres, 216 of which were gained metres, which is the most Handley has made all season. His 27 total carries was also the highest the England international has made in 2021, in a game that was an arm wrestle between the Rhinos and Warriors.
So far this season, after finishing as top try scorer in 2020, Handley has come back from an MCL injury suffered in February, missing eight games, but has been of Leeds’ top performers towards the business end of the season. Handley has been named as captain on a couple of occasions too in 2021 and has led by example to make the most metres out of any Leeds player this campaign (13th in Super League) as well as the club’s best player at kick return metres.
St Helens and England international James Roby needs one appearance to move ahead of Paul Wellens into stand alone third place in the list of Super League’s all-time leaders.
Tommy Makinson needs three tries to reach 150 tries for St Helens. The winger has scored 147 in 260 appearances for the club, since debuting in 2011.
Mark Percival needs one try to reach 100 for his career. Since debuting for the club in 2013, the centre has 97 tries in red and white and also has two tries for England between 2016 and 2018.
Following the first round of Betfred Super League play off games, we now know that Leeds Rhinos will travel to St Helens on Friday 1st October, kick off 7.45pm, in the Grand Final semi final and tickets and travel are on sale now.
Tickets and travel for the clash at the Totally Wicked Stadium are on sale now! Leeds Rhinos 2021 Season Members, 2021 Flexi Members and 2021 Supporter Members can also save £5 on their own ticket when purchased before midnight the day before the game. This will automatically discount in the basket page when ordering through Leeds Rhinos.
You can secure your place by purchasing your tickets and travel in one of the following ways:
Online: Tickets are available 24/7 at tickets.therhinos.co.uk
Over the Phone: You can contact Leeds Rhinos Ticket Office on 0371 423 1315 during the following opening hours: Saturday 25th September, 9:30am to 12:30pm, Monday 27th to Thursday 30th September, 10:30am to 3:30pm, Friday 1st October, 10:30am to 3pm
Please note, Leeds Rhinos Ticket Office at Emerald Headingley Stadium will not be open for ticket sales. Fans who have pre-purchased tickets can collect during opening hours.
For more information, click here.